Representation and Interpreters
Any person whose case is being heard or reviewed by the Tribunal may have a lawyer to represent him or her at the hearing. The Mental Health Advocacy Service provides free legal aid for many types of hearings. Alternatively, the client can engage a private lawyer, at the client’s own expense.
In addition, someone who is not a lawyer may represent the client as his or her advocate, as long as the Tribunal agrees to this.
The Tribunal is keen to support and assist people through the hearing process, and generally encourages and welcomes the involvement of advocates and non-legal representatives. Someone wishing to represent a patient before the Tribunal should make a brief application at the start of the hearing. The proposed representative should indicate his or her name, relationship to the patient, and the reasons for asking to be acknowledged as the patient’s representative. The Tribunal will usually ask some preliminary questions before it decides about the appropriateness of the proposed representation.
People who speak a language other than English, or who require a sign interpreter, have a right to a free health care interpreter. Interpreters should always be involved in any Tribunal hearing where any person appearing before the Tribunal has a language difficulty, or where there is some doubt about that person’s capacity to comprehend English.